Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand on Wednesday as he faces trial on six charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, in the connection with the shooting death of two people and the injuring of another during protests against police brutality in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August 2020 in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
The then 17-year-old was captured on video shooting three protesters with an AR-15 assault rifle he was carrying on the third night of protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23. Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty and his defense maintains the shootings were in self defense.
Judge Schroeder's 'God Bless the USA' Blares During Trial
Shortly after the lunch break on Wednesday, as Rittenhouse's defense team argued that the murder case against their client needed to be tossed, Judge Bruce Schroeder's phone started ringing to the tune of "God Bless the USA," prompting the judge to immediately silence his phone.
First released in 1984, the patriotic anthem by Lee Greenwood has gained renewed prominence following the 9/11 terror attacks and has since become something of a standard in conservative political circles. Most recently, for example, former President Donald Trump used the song as his entrance theme during rallies.
In 2019, when Trump put Greenwood on the board of the Kennedy Center, the Hill reported that the song had "become synonymous with Trump's rallies." Greenwood sang "God Bless the U.S.A." at Trump's inauguration and has even performed the song at a 2018 rally.
The incident has led many to believe that the fact that Judge Schroeder has Trump's rally theme as his ringtone indicates that he's biased for the defense as Trump supporters have largely heralded Rittenhouse as a hero. After hearing the judge's ringtone, liberals on Twitter are convinced that Rittenhouse will walk free. Here are some of the reactions:
Mr Rittenhouse's attorneys are seeking a mistrial with prejudice due to what they called "prosecutorial misconduct." The defence accused prosecutors of violating Mr Rittenhouse's rights by questioning his silence in the wake of the shootings and by referencing a video that was previously deemed inadmissible - both violations that the judge admonished the prosecution over. If the motion is granted, Mr Rittenhouse cannot be tried again for the same crimes.
Judge Schroeder ruled ahead of the trial that the prosecutors cannot refer to the two people Mr Rittenhouse stands accused of killing as "victims." The judge decided last month that the term was too "loaded", but that Mr Rittenhouse's legal team can use words such as "rioters" and "looters" to refer to the men who were shot if they could produce evidence to back up the designations.